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[Historical Background] Weapon Loadouts

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Captain Pyjama Shark:

--- Quote from: Ts4EVER on 19-07-2017, 16:07:07 ---They do not show up in these documents because they count as ammunition, not a weapon. So basically, they gave out as many as they had and as many as could be carried.

--- End quote ---

Thanks. These are very intersting posts. It makes me realize how much media has over-representented submachine-guns and other automatic weapons in WW2. It also usually depicts squads five guys and a sergeant which looks like is not the case at all.

Automatic weapons just weren't a priority for a lot of nations, the US and Britain especially focused on doctrines based around aimed rifle fire, with any automatic weapons basically just being in support of that fire.  The Russians started with that, but eventually came around to the submachine gun doctrine, which eventually translated into the AK47.

An additional note regarding the Fallschirmjäger loadout:
I recently bought the Osprey Book about the St. Lo Campaign. It has well known picture of the Fallschirmjäger aiming an FG42, with this caption:

"A paratrooper armed with one of the rare FG 42 automatic rifles with its distinctive side magazine. These were built in very small numbers, around 7,000, and it probably identifies him as serving in one of the Sturmtruppen of Fallschirm-Aufklarungs-Abteilung 12, the corps-level reconnaissance battalion of II Fallschirmjäger-Korps that was equipped with this weapon."

If this is true, it would indicate that the Germans used the FG42 in a similar fashion to the StG44 later, meaning they concentrated them in certain assault units.

The thing is, while there were only roughly 7,000 FG42's produced, there were only ~240,000 FJ to ever serve in WW2.  Given that the guns didn't start getting into the units until 1943, that means that there was one FG42 to every 34 FJ.  But given that plenty of the original FJ were gone by 1943, and that plenty more were supply/pak/other non-infantry jobs, one FG42 per squad would be a realistic figure.  That also means that they could have centered them into Sturmtruppen, or spread them around like an extra BAR-kinda thing.

Basically, sure it was a rare gun overall, but since it was only issued to the FJ, and the FJ were only ever a small number of active troops, it was still about as common as the BAR or Bren was for Allied infantry.

I looked into it more, and according to the book "Dying for St. Lo" every recon company formed one assault group, which was armed with a Puppchen rocket launcher, 3 FG42s (1 scoped) and a flamethrower. Probably the crewmen had K98ks and the squad leader a submachinegun.


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